It’s the stat that keeps popping up in the gun control debate. Just one problem: It is totally bogus.

A “Fact” About Gun Sales That Does Not Hold Up

73% of gun owners say they purchased their firearms. Of that, 63% (not 60%) were purchased through the mail, at a gun store, a pawn shop or other store (other would be Wal-Mart, Gander Mountain, Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.).

They show that 4% purchased their guns at a gun show. The bulk of sales at gun shows are through FFL’s. But for the sake of the whiners, let’s split it down the middle. 2% at gun shows were through FFL’s and 2% through a private sale. 29% say they acquired their gun from a friend or family member. If we deduct the 24% who say they inherited their firearms or received it as a gift, that leaves us with 5% who purchased it from a family member or friend.

So that leaves 65% of guns purchased where a background check was required. 5% of sales were done between family members and friends without a check. Another 24% were given as gifts or inherited. That leaves the final 6% which were sold in other markets or acquired through a trade.  Even if we are generous and include sales between family members and friends, we are left with a figure of eleven percent. Not forty percent.

John Fund made the same point in National Review Online earlier today.

  • ceemack

    There’s actually no way of knowing the true percentage. There’s a huge black market in firearms. The tighter the regulations in your state, the bigger that black market is. I was told many years ago that it was over 1 million handguns in California. It’s probably substantially larger now.

    Don’t bet too much money that these illegal transactions show up in federal statistics.

    Naturally, these sales will be completely unaffected by Barry’s executive “actions”.

    I don’t @MoronsInTheWhiteHouse have paused to consider this.

  • abnormalslc

    hey….11 is the new 40!

  • Michelle

    Whatever the true figure is, what’s pathetic is they miss the point. The guns Adam Lanza used were legally owned (by his mother) AFTER a background check. The guns used by the Aurora shooter – legally own AFTER a background check. Indeed, most of the recent mass shootings of note involved guns legally owned AFTER a background check. So, why the focus on a background check?

    • DavidKramer

      The next step, confiscation.

    • 1SkepticalChick

      Realization of that will be the next step. They’ll say “We tried to fix this with background checks, but those don’t work so we have no other option but take your guns.”. You know, since there’s no way to tell who the nuts are out there.

      • Michelle

        Of course it doesn’t work. The requirement of a background check worked in the case of Adam Lanza – he went to a store to purchase a gun and balked at the two week waiting period (to, ya know…perform a background check). So he instead used his mother’s guns – a woman who legally owned those guns because she…(wait for it)…passed background checks! Until I hear those guns were locked in a safe that her son didn’t have access to and he held a gun to her head demanding she open the safe (which we already know is NOT the case because she was shot in bed), the reason he got to those guns is because they were not properly secured. How does a background check ensure a gun owner isn’t going to be so damn stupid and careless?

        • 1SkepticalChick

          Michelle, I was being sarcastic. I agree with you. They will “Let no crisis go to waste” as they take our freedoms, step by step.

          • Michelle

            Kenna – I was adding to your thoughts, not opposing them. I got it. :-)

          • 1SkepticalChick


  • TheKingJAK

    Ban these firearms and close supposed “Loopholes”, then see how quickly organized crime becomes a major player in the industry.

  • Sisserydoo

    Math is hard.

  • Danny Wheeler

    Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure.

  • dmacleo

    100% of fast and furious weapons went to people with no background checks

  • NachoCheese (D)

    And yet the silence from the left on the mental health aspect astounds me.

    Musket Morgan and others harp endlessly about how the last 4 mass shootings all involved the same style of weapon, the so-called “assault rifle”. But of those same shootings, 3 out of the 4 (unsure about the Oregon mall shooter) were known to be seriously mentally ill.

    Jared Loughner was kicked out of Community College (and you have to work to get kicked out of CC) because of his mental issues and told he had to seek professional help before he would be allowed to return.

    James Holmes had seen a university psychiatrist and confessed to fantasizing about committing a mass killing.

    Adam Lanza’s mother was reportedly trying to have him involuntarily committed due to increasing severity of his mental state.

    Yet from the President on down the left is absolutely silent on this component of these tragedies.

    • Hiraghm

      Obama sez that it’s okay if I kill only 9 people at a time. /sarc

  • Gloves Donahue, Jr.

    Instead of targeting legal owners, Obama should have gone after criminals with swift and harsh punishment and Spartan jails that an inmate never wants to go back to.

    Word would spread even in Chicago that criminals will be punished and not coddled.
    But Obama’s an ultralib and he’d never understand.

  • DavidKramer

    The percentage of background checks done on criminals that get illegal guns? 0%

  • ZoriahShepard

    Shocking that the media is repeating false information without verifying it’s accuracy.

  • Hiraghm

    Totally irrelevant. A background check places the burden of proof on the purchaser, not on the government. It’s an infringement of the 2nd Amendment.

  • Gary Rudick

    100% real statistic, you can kill more people with 1 gallon of gasoline than you can with 100 rounds of ammunition. No background check.

    • WisconsinPatriot

      BUT WE NEED TO!!! FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!! We can’t as a nation continue to allow free access to FUEL. WE need to document every DROP of that evil fluid. FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!/sarc sarc sarcity sarc.

  • Guest

    Please note:

    “smart” does not equal “intelligent”, but equals “crafty”, especially when used as a political jargon (“jargon” is the linguistic term for any word taken in a different and specialized way by a group or profession. In this context it isn’t a pejorative.

    • Grumpa Grumpus

      Hand-tremor caused a note to self to accidentally post.
      I tried to delete it, but can’t… it simply posts as “Guest”

      If the comment fully forms in my mind I’ll post it later.

      Thank you-all for understanding an Old Man’s flub!

  • GW

    They should have a law where criminals purchasing guns on the black market should be subjected to background checks. Oh what’s that? Criminals don’t follow the law? Who woulda thunk that?